Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Jeep Towing Setup

Tuesday: (03/08) I had two good hikes planned for today and tomorrow. Murietta Falls hike at Lake Del Valle. The leader canceled it late last night due to a report of too much mud on the trails. So, I decided to cancel my Wednesday hike up in Napa at the Skyline Wilderness as well and get busy on the Jeep.
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Day one of the Jeep setup. Removed the front end of the Jeep. Really feels odd to do that to a new vehicle. I installed the two towbar baseplate receivers.
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Next I worked on installing the electrical connector and breakaway switch. Much of the task involved getting a couple of holes drilled through the bumper.
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Getting two holes through was really difficult. While the forecast called for rain about 1600 we had a good shower about 1300 so, with Lou’s help, we assembled a rain cover over the Jeep. A breakfast sandwich from L&L Hawaiian to start the day. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Mexican casserole for dinner.
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Wednesday: (03/09) Day two of the Jeep setup. Installed the front end electrical connector mount. I decided to make a bracket using those two holes to mount the breakaway switch. It needed a bracket anyway because it needs to be mounted about two inches behind the bumper to match the face of the electrical connector.
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I then reinstalled the front end and trimmed the fascia for the electrical connector and breakaway switch. I didn’t quite trim enough but didn’t discover it until I’d reassembled most of the front end so I had to do a little trimming in place to get the bumper cover to go back far enough to get the bottom of the fascia to go back far enough to reattach. At the end of the day the front was back together and the wiring brought up into the engine compartment from the connector and switch. Granola and banana for breakfast.  Pepper steak sandwich for lunch. Meatloaf, vegetable medley and French fried potatoes ala Dawn for dinner.
Thursday: (03/10) Day three of the Jeep setup. I fabricated a mount for the vacuum pump and installed the pump.
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Then I pulled the wiring through the firewall for the brakes and lights and to the rear of the Jeep for the tail lights. Another massive dis-assembly of the Jeep was needed to route the wiring to the rear of the vehicle. The wiring goes behind the bottom molding by the left side doors. Even with the difficulty getting the cable through, it’s a lot better than hanging it below the vehicle. I tidied the wiring under the hood. Only needs final hookup under hood, tail light diodes and wiring, solenoid installation and control wiring under dash. Leftover breakfast potatoes with sausage and eggs for breakfast. Lou brought home some dim sum (pork footballs and shrimp balls) from Dim Sum King for lunch. For dinner roasted cauliflower, pineapple coleslaw, wieners, and rice noodles.
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Friday: (03/11) Day four of jeep Setup. Another really rainy and windy day. My first task was to work on the tarp over the Jeep. It had loosened and now contained about 20 gallons of water.  I didn’t want that to burp onto where I was working. I worked on fishing a cable over the rear compartment from one tail light to the other. I’ve watched a couple of videos where people have done the same thing to the Cherokee. One dropped down from the taillight behind the outside wall and hung under the vehicle. Another removed the spare tire storage covers. I decided to just pop the molding off either side of the rear and fish the wire over the top. I then made up the wiring installing the diodes. The wires were intercepted after the connector and before the fixture where there is only 2 inches of wire. Hopefully they don’t have too much strain placed on everything when it’s all stuffed back in place. I then closed everything up and the lights all worked as before. Seeing if they work from the RV will have to wait until later. After lunch I started on installing the solenoid that pulls the brake pedal down. It will be installed under the driver seat. This is a learning experience which I have passed on to professionals for the previous two installations. Getting a new car apart and back together is nerve racking.
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Now a new puzzle. How to remove the drivers seat. It turns out that FCA (Fiat Chrysler America) decided to use a new type of bolt requiring an odd tool. It’s only on the past couple of years of Dodge Dart and Cherokee and some GM vehicles. It is a four point torx like bit. Most torx bits are 6 point and some 5 point. Needless to say getting the bit turned into a project. None of the auto parts stores, home improvement stores or tool stores had it. After a call to the dealer that wasn’t too much help and a lot of searching on the Internet I finally found out what to search for and found what should be the bits on Amazon. I ordered them next day delivery and should have them tomorrow. So, the Jeep is in operating condition with the front finished, the rear finished and most except to hookup under the hood done but all the inside work to do. A good dry day with the right tools may finish up the inside. Under the hood I am concerned about tapping into the vacuum line because of a short section where I need to intercept and I’ll probably need to be creative to get the ell and check valve to fit. I’d really like to find some ells to use but haven’t found them yet. Lots of tees but no ells. Leftovers for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. I made my pork, black bean, rice and salsa casserole for dinner.

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